Category Archives: Uncategorized
By: James Maddox
Social media is becoming increasingly more important for sports fans around the world. It can be as easy as ‘liking’ a page on Facebook and instantly gaining access to news updates, exclusive photos, and creative video content. It’s becoming more apparent, however, that fans are not the only one’s reaping the benefits of social media. Many teams and universities in general are seeing increases in ticket sales, donations from donors, and increases in overall revenue. Does social media deserve some of the credit for these increases?
The benefits of social media are enormous when capitalized in an effective and efficient manner. It’s ultimately a free tool that allows you to connect and engage with fans and followers by sharing news, posting video content, and hosting contests. Some schools, however, take it a step further and use their social media platforms to promote events and ultimately drive ticket sales.
For example, if you take a quick visit to the Facebook page of the University of Tennessee athletics, you will see a picture promoting an upcoming game for the women’s basketball team with a web link on the bottom of the page: UTtix.com. That picture alone had over 200 likes and 20 shares. Thus, the university was able to direct a portion of their 250,000 followers to their ticketing website, allowing fans to not only purchase tickets for that women’s basketball game, but any other sport that they may be interested in.
While visiting the website, fans may find that they are interested in season tickets for the upcoming football season, an excellent source of revenue for any athletics program. By simply posting a photo through social media, the University of Tennessee may have been able to lock in a future football season ticket holder, all for the beautiful price of ‘free’.
Athletics programs across the country are doing the same thing the University of Tennessee is doing across several different platforms. For example, the Louisville Cardinals athletic program is using Pinterest among several different platforms to push ticket sales. There is a board on the UofL page titled ‘Promotions’ in which ads for upcoming games are posted and includes ticket prices, links to other social media pages, and links to the ticketing website.
Additionally, the University of Texas uses Twitter to push ticket sales to fans through several techniques. They recently ran a contest for the best fan photo with the winner receiving tickets to the Texas vs. UCLA men’s basketball game. Another tweet lets followers know that tickets are going fast but still available for the volleyball team that is competing in the NCAA Austin Regional this upcoming weekend.
Whether it’s Tennessee on Facebook, Louisville on Pinterest, or Texas on Twitter, it becomes quite clear that some schools are using social media the right way.
After seeing how some of the elite programs in the country are using social media to drive ticket sales, it begs the follow question: does it work? Are universities seeing increases in athletics revenue, primarily in ticket and donor revenue, due to social media? Social media is a very small factor in the grand scheme of revenue for college athletics, especially when you look at factors such as the wealthy donors in Austin, Texas, and the new KFC Yum Center! generating revenue for the Louisville Cardinals.
However, it’s hard to say that social media hasn’t positively impacted athletics programs across the country. Though in the past it may have been more relevant and useful to call individual donors to gauge interest in purchasing or renewing season ticket packages, programs can now use social media platforms to get the job done. They can reach out to more fans and donors at the same time by tweeting the deadline for ticket renewal on Twitter or posting the link to the website in which you can purchase season tickets on Facebook.
Many programs send out emails regarding ticket packages, season tickets, and upcoming promotions. However, you have to wonder how many of those emails get overlooked or aren’t even given the opportunity because they fall into the spam folder. Social media fixes this problem.
The University of Michigan is a prime example of a program that is dominating social media in college athletics and the results of their social media campaigns confirm this. Every year the Wolverines athletic department holds a social media-only ticket presale for the football team during a two-week period in July. According to Paciolan, the team generated approximately $75,000 in 2011 and was looking to do even better in 2012. With no signs of social media slowing down they did just that by nearly doubling their number in 2011 and raking in over $140,000.
Despite a near 100% increase the number is not so significant considering the athletics department revenue and even football-only revenue is well into the tens of millions. However the impact goes beyond the financials of this successful campaign. The landscape of social media in sports and ticket sales dramatically shifts with drives like this. The idea of making season tickets literally a ‘Like’ away makes it easier for potential buyers and opens up marketing possibilities for the University of Michigan athletic department as well as programs across the country.
By: James Maddox
It can be costly these days to hire a coach that will lead a program to great success. It’s unfortunate, however, when it doesn’t play out that way and the head coach is getting kicked out of the door when expectations aren’t met. In these cases schools are forced to buyout the contracts of their former coaches, causing big paydays for said coaches.
An article recently published on ESPN.com by sports business writer and BusinessofCollegeSports.com founder Kristi Dosh shows the financial implications some programs are facing over the next few years.
The biggest is centered around former SEC powerhouse Auburn’s recent firing of coach Gene Chizik, who’s 4 year head coaching tenure included 3 bowl wins, one of those being a national championship, and more recently a dismal 3-9 record in 2012. Chizik received a lump sum of $7.5 million, approximately $2.4 million more than the reported $5.1 million buyout Auburn paid for previous head coach Tommy Tuberville.
Not only does Auburn have to pay the $7.5 million for Chizik’s buyout, but it is also planning to buyout Chizik’s staff for approximately $3 million, pay a $500,000 salary to new coach Gus Malzahn, and pay for the $700,000 buyout to Arkansas State for Malzahn’s departure. The buyout is considered a loan for Malzahn and will be repayed through his contract according to the letter of agreement released by Auburn.
Although the Auburn Tigers have paid the biggest coaching buyout of the year so far, it seems as if another program was financially hit worse by their own buyout. Dosh points out that former Southern Mississippi coach Ellis Johnson is due $2.1 million from his buyout. While that amount doesn’t ring close to that of Gene Chizik’s, it is still considered a high number for a school in a non-automatic-qualifying BCS conference. To put things in perspective, the $2.1 million is equal to over 10% of the schools athletic department revenue generated last year.
The craziness of the coaching carousel doesn’t stop at Auburn and Southern Miss. The former buyouts of coaches from Tennessee, Cal, and Kentucky are well into the millions. In fact, in just the past month the total amount programs have had to place toward buyouts of previous coaches has toppled $31 million collectively.
New Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema will be facing an even bigger payday than that of Chizik or any of the previously listed coaches if he is let go during the next 3 years. If so, he is expected to receive $12.8 million from Arkansas in a buyout. One of the biggest payouts in recent years belongs to Charlie Weis, who has received nearly $9 million so far. Although he was let go in 2009, he will continue to receive annual payments well into December 2015 with the amount expected to near $19 million by then.
By: Shanette D. Buford-Brazzell
The holidays came early for some huge college football fans. On Tuesday, December 6th, the UCLA Athletic Department released a press release stating that several donors of the Wooden Athletic Fund made additional donations. The donations were made to ensure the purchase of some 650 student tickets for the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl, by helping lower the ticket prices from $65 to $25. The donors wish to remain anonymous.
“It’s wonderful that several of our donors have generously come forward to ensure our students have the opportunity to attend the Holiday Bowl,” said Dan Guerrero, UCLA Athletic Director, in a press release on the athletic website.
The generous contributions came after a recent announcement that the UCLA’s Wooden Athletic Fund had set fundraising records in 2012, with contributions from UCLA’s 5000 alumni, fans, and friends. The Wooden Athletic Fund already receives more than $11 million in cash contributions. This is helped by the fact that the 5,000 members each donated at least $100 to the athletic fund this year.
There have been rumors that other universities’ donors, such as those at Notre Dame, Northern Illinois, and Duke, have made similar donations to their respective universities. For example, according an article from Yahoo! Sports, one of Notre Dame’s donors made a $375,000 donation, which caused ticket price to be fall from $300 to $150 for the BCS National Championship Game. In a recent interview, Josh Berlo, Senior Assistant Athletics Director of Guest Relations, Ticketing, and Event Marketing at Notre Dame, told ESPN’s Darren Rovell that their donor wants to remain anonymous as well. On the other hand, Northern Illinois, who will play Florida State in the Orange Bowl, announced that it will give every student a free ticket to the game.
The donations that are received through the athletic fund will go directly to support the needs of all of the UCLA student-athletes in its 24 athletic programs. The financial support that donors contribute provides the student-athletes with resources, that they use in the classroom and community and with which to compete in their respective sports. UCLA will face Baylor on Thursday December 27, 2012 at 6:45pm (PST), in the 35th edition of the Holiday Bowl at the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif. The Bruins went 9-4 this season and were the Pac-12 Conference South Division Champions.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, a union who represents freelance technical crew members, has established a strike against the Pac-12 Networks. The union is one of the largest in Hollywood. The strike began on Saturday when union members picketed outside games at USC, Arizona State, Oregon State, Oregon and Washington.
Reports say approximately 100 union members picketed outside the USC-Minnesota game.
The impact on Pac-12 Networks isn’t immediately known. Reports indicated fewer cameras were used for the USC-Minnesota game, presumably as a result of the strike.
The IATSE says the Pac-12 Networks uses both union and non-union labor at sporting events it covers. Non-contract workers receive lower wages and no benefits according to the IATSE. The union is looking for Pac-12 Networks to establish standard wages and benefits for all workers represented by IATSE.
By: Shanette D. Buford-Brazzell
The University of Maryland and Rutgers University recently made national headlines, surprising all college sports fans, when they both accepted invitations to join the Big Ten Conference.
On Monday, November 19, 2012, Maryland’s Board of Regents voted to accept the invitation to join the Big Ten, and leave the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). All competition within the Big Ten will begin during the 2014-15 academic year.
On Tuesday, November 20, 2012, Rutgers University made their announcement, that they too would join, becoming the Big Ten’s fourteen member. The Rutgers Board of Governors had passed the vote on November 19, which gave Athletic Director Tim Pernetti the authorization to accept the invitation to the Big Ten and leave the Big East conference.
According to a press release, the University of Maryland president Wallace D. Loh said, “Today is a watershed moment for the University of Maryland, membership in Big Ten Conference is in strategic interest of [University of] Maryland.” Maryland is only the second school to leave ACC. The first to do so was South Carolina in 1971, when they departed and became independent.
In response to Maryland’s departure, the ACC’s Commissioner, John Swofford, sent his best wishes to Maryland, and even stated that, “Since [the ACC’s] inception, [Maryland] have been an outstanding member of [the] conference and we are sorry to see them exit.” Furthermore, Maryland will pay a $50 million exit fee to the ACC.
Both schools will join Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, and Indiana in the Leaders Division of the Big Ten Conference.
The Big Ten is best known for its football programs, yet Maryland and Rutgers may add to its prestige by bringing along their great basketball programs as well. When Maryland leaves the ACC, its basketball program will say goodbye to some long-storied rivalries with North Carolina State, Duke, and University of North Carolina. Maryland basketball coach, Mark Turgeon, welcomes this move and stated, “It doesn’t change anything – we’re going from one great league to another.”
Both Maryland and Rutgers will welcome the additional dollars that will come along with being members of the Big Ten. According to Kristi Dosh of ESPN, Maryland had a deficit of $473,482 in 2010-2011, even with despite $9.5 million in student fees and $6.4 million in institutional support. Rutgers needed even more help to break even, taking in $9 million in student fees and $19.4 million in institutional support.
Both the ACC and Big East will be looking to find replacement teams to fill the void left by Maryland and Rutgers, respectively.
By: Shanette D. Buford-Brazzell
Recently, DePaul University made the huge announcement that they are considering moving all of their Men’s Basketball home games into United Center, the home of the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks.
DePaul University, a NCAA Division I and Catholic University, currently plays its 16 home games at the Allstate Arena, in Rosemont, a suburban neighborhood outside of Chicago. This contract to play there runs through 2015. During the 2011-12 season Men’s Basketball home games attendance was 130,486, with an average of 7,676 spectators. The possible move to downtown Chicago will bring more spectators and increased attendance for the Blue Demons.
According to a Crain’s Chicago Business article it was reported that “the university is considering the United Center or a new facility to be built near McCormick Place.” Many people have their own opinion about the possible move of the Men’s Basketball games, while others aren’t too happy about it. The move has its pros and cons: students will have a shorter travel trip to games from their campus in Lincoln Park. The travel time from the campus to the Allstate Arena is currently twenty-seven minutes. Yet, the move to United States could decrease their commute to only eight minutes! Similarly, The Blue Demons fans and spectators from the city wouldn’t have to travel far either.
DePaul University mentioned in their strategic plan V2018 that one of their goals was to seek various opportunities to bring Men’s Basketball back into Chicago. In a recent interview with Journal Online, DePaul’s spokesman, Director of Communications for Men’s Basketball and Golf, Greg Greenwell, stated “DePaul will consider any proposal that will help us accomplish that goal”.
A spokesman from United Center confirmed that there are reports from sports facility’s owners, who had recent conversations with the university about Men’s Basketball playing games at the facility. However, there hasn’t been any confirmation from DePaul’s Athletic Director Jean Ponsetto.
What: New NCAA Enforcement Program–Created by a 13-member group of presidents, athletic directors, commissioners, and others in the collegiate athletic community
When: Effective August 1, 2013
Who: Affects accountability of Head Coaches in the NCAA
Where: NCAA Campuses across the nation
- To increase accountability of coaching staffs to uphold integrity of collegiate model of athletics in wake of some of the worst scandals in NCAA history
- To provide a stronger deterrent for individuals who believe that the benefits and advantages of violating NCAA regulations outweigh the severity of punishment
- To better differentiate between who was actually responsible for violations by making coaches bring the penalties they incurred individually to a new school if they decide to change jobs
|Old System||New System||Why the Change?|
|Levels of Violation||2 (Major and Secondary)||4 (Ranging from severe breaches of conduct to incidental infractions)||Makes the Violation Code Less Rigid|
|Division I Committee Members||10||Up to 24||Allows less severe cases to be dealt with in a more timely manner by creating sub-groups|
|Hearings for Level I Cases by Committee on Infractions||5 times annually||10||To deal with severe cases more efficiently and effectively|
|Basis of Penalties for Head Coaches||Did Head Coach Know of Violations or Have “Presumption of Knowledge?”||Presumed responsibility, unless proven otherwise||To ensure that head coaches provide ample materials informing assistant coaches on how to properly act|
The O’Bannon case has recently been in the news again. This time the focus has been on the release of the plaintiffs’ class certification expert report. In the report, Stanford economics professor Roger Noll attempts to show that the plaintiffs will be able to prove their case against the NCAA using evidence that is common to the putative class members (i.e., current and former Division I basketball players and FBS football players). If plaintiffs cannot make this showing, their case will not be certified as a class action and the case will likely fade away. So the report is one of the most important documents that will be filed in the case.
Most of the media’s coverage of the report has focused on Noll’s live broadcast revenue damages calculations. Specifically, it has been reported by a number of media outlets that under Noll’s formula SEC football players on team rosters during the 2009-10 school year would share $61.5 million of live broadcast revenue, SEC basketball players $42.5 million, Pac-10 football players $26.3 million, and Pac-10 basketball players $30.4 million. The media reports don’t explain how Noll reached these numbers. But, because you have the good sense to read BusinessofCollegeSports.com, you will now learn. I must give one warning though. If you don’t like math you might want to skip the next few paragraphs.
The first step in Noll’s formula is determining the amount of live television revenue a conference’s football and basketball teams generated in a given year. According to Noll’s figures, in 2009-10 the SEC’s football teams generated $123,096,376 in live television revenue and its basketball teams generated $85,043,590. The Pac-10’s football teams generated $52,506,327 and its basketball teams generated $60,480,049. (On a side note, the huge gap in the amount of TV revenue earned by the SEC and the Pac-10 points out just how far the Pac-10 was falling behind the other BCS conferences in revenue generation. Luckily, the Pac-10 members hired Larry Scott as their commissioner and have now closed the gap).
Noll’s formula assumes that this revenue is shared equally among conference members. That leaves us with the following per-team revenue numbers:
• Each 2009-10 SEC football team earned $10,296,733 in live broadcast revenue.
• 2009-10 SEC basketball teams earned between $6,991,974 and $7,205,685 in live broadcast revenue (the basketball calculations also include a small amount of school specific live television revenue).
• Each 2009-10 Pac-10 football team earned $5,250,633 in live broadcast revenue.
• 2009-10 Pac-10 basketball teams earned between $5,519,602 and $7,142,893 in live broadcast revenue.
Noll’s formula also assumes that yearly live broadcast revenue is split evenly between a school’s athletic department and the members of the men’s basketball and football teams. So, each of the per-team numbers above is divided in half to calculate the players’ share of the live broadcast revenue. Here are those numbers:
• 2009-10 SEC football players’ share per school: $5,129,016
• 2009-10 Pac-10 football players’ share per school: $2,625,316
• 2009-10 SEC basketball players’ share per school: between $3,490,636 and $3,597,328
• 2009-10 Pac-10 basketball players’ share per school: between $2,744,750 and $3,551,969
Lastly, to calculate the per-athlete damages, Noll divides the players’ share of the live broadcast revenue by the number of players on a team’s roster. Because the roster size is different at each school, the amount of per-athlete damages varies by school. Here are the per-athlete damage numbers:
• Per-athlete damages for an SEC football player on a 2009-10 roster vary from $46,627 to $66,610.
• Per-athlete damages for a Pac-10 football player on a 2009-10 roster vary from $26,253 to $44,497.
• Per-athlete damages for an SEC basketball player on a 2009-10 roster vary from $177,860 to $295,475.
• Per-athlete damages for a Pac-10 basketball player on a 2009-10 roster vary from $171,547 to $253,171.
A couple of interesting observations can be made by examining the per-athlete numbers and Noll’s model in general.
First, although football generates more total broadcast revenue, basketball players will be entitled to more money under Noll’s damages calculation than football players. There is one reason for this: because of the large difference in roster sizes there are fewer players on a basketball team to split the revenue with.
The per-athlete basketball and football numbers are so skewed by roster sizes that a basketball player at a mid-major like Bucknell would be entitled to more live broadcast revenue than a football player at USC. Using Noll’s formula, a basketball player on Bucknell’s 2009-10 team would be entitled to $34,903. (This revenue comes solely from the broadcast rights to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament). A member of the 2009-10 USC football team is only entitled to $28,229.
Second, in many instances, a BCS football player’s live broadcast damages would not even be equal to the value of his athletic scholarship. For example, the per-athlete number for Stanford’s 2009-10 football team is $36,463. The value of a full athletic scholarship at Stanford in 2009-10 was over $50,000.
Lastly, while the O’Bannon case is still a long way from resolution, if it results in a system like Noll’s being implemented if will be a shock to the collegiate athletics model. Division I members will lose a large chunk of their athletics budgets. As a result, colleges are paying close attention to the case. For example, the Big 12 has recently convened a task force to study what the college sports landscape will look like if the O’Bannon plaintiffs are successful.
The NCAA will also lose the vast majority of its revenue if the plaintiffs prevail. Nearly 88% of the NCAA’s revenue comes from the sale of the broadcast rights for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. But, in a post O’Bannon world, all of that money will be distributed to Division I men’s basketball players and the schools, not the NCAA. Despite this, the NCAA will not be as affected as the schools. The NCAA already distributes 96% of its annual revenue to NCAA member schools. The loss of NCAA revenue will most hurt the schools that are reliant on the NCAA distributions.
In the end, the O’Bannon case has the potential to be as important as the U.S. Supreme Court’s NCAA v. University of Oklahoma Board of Regents decision. That decision granted schools the ability to sell the broadcast rights to their athletic events. Prior to tha decision, the NCAA controlled and sold the television rights. With schools allowed to sell their television rights, money began to flow directly into the school’s athletics coffers. If the O’Bannon plaintiffs are successful, some of that money will begin to flow directly into the hands of the student-athletes.
By: Jason Singer
Mark and Nancy Hollis used to be just another two faculty members on the Michigan State campus. Yet, after their $1 million donation to the University, they are anything but just that.
The donation will be divided as follows: half of the money will go to the academic section of the University, and the other half will go to the athletic program. The athletic portion will goes towards funding the “North End Zone” project at Spartan Stadium. This project will help develop the facilities for both present and future student-athletes. Many sections of the stadium will be improved and renovated, including both the home and away locker rooms, the media center, concession areas and restrooms.
Mark Hollis, who was named the Athletic Director in 2008, knows first hand how important the facilities are to the program. He even stated that him and his family will “continue to support this expansion of Spartan Stadium, which is critical to the future of the football program and will improve the entire athletic program.”
When Mark and Nancy Hollis attended Michigan State together, they knew that their lives were influenced by fellow students, faculty members, and others who were involved with them on the MSU campus. They beleive this still stands true today. As a result, they decided to donate and create this scholarship fund to continue the positive influence on others that Michigan State has had on them.
The scholarship fund they created is known as The Hollis Family Endowed Scholarship. Only a portion of the invested income earned is spent each year. The remainder is added to its previous amount, which increases the scholarship from the initial year. Doing this will allow Michigan State to give out scholarships for years to come, long into the future.
By donating this great gift to their alma mater, Mark and Nancy Hollis have helped Michigan State for the better, as the renovations to Spartan Stadium, and the scholarships for incoming students, will improve this impressive university a great deal. The future of Michigan State is looking great, and people will always look back to the Hollis family as important campus influences.
BY: CAITLYN LAWRENCE
During the July meeting of the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee, ideas were presented that would reduce the dual match length and change the format of the championships. Quickly after these ideas were released, many coaches and student-athletes were protesting the recommended changes, especially those pertaining to shortening the dual match format. After the Division 1 cabinet met earlier this month, the majority of the proposals pertaining to shortening the matches were defeated. However, the cabinet did encourage the committee to research other methods to decrease dual match length and to present these ideas during the next meeting in February.
Even though the changes originally presented to shorten match length were rejected, that does not mean that the Division I dual match format is safe. The Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee is still searching for methods to shorten the length of a dual match. However, it should be noted that tennis at the collegiate level is already abridged with doubles matches being only a pro-set to eight games. So why is the committee trying to find other ways to shorten the dual matches?
According to the Report of the NCAA Division 1 Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee July 10-12 Meeting, a dual match can last up to 4.5 hours. No other NCAA sport requires the student-athlete to compete for this duration. Also, the report noted that match length deters fan support and it does not allow for media coverage. The committee argued that by shortening the time of a dual match so it would take between 3-3.5 hours there would be more opportunity for local and national television coverage of the sport, as well as live streaming on the internet.
The most notable change suggested that singles matches would be best two-out-of-three matches with the third set being a super tie-breaker (the first player to ten points wins). However, would removing the third set increase the appeal?
The most popular tennis matches viewed on TV are the men’s grand slam finals, which are played as a best three-out-of-five sets, a not so fan-friendly format according to the Division 1 Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee. The 2012 Wimbledon final between Andy Murray and Roger Federer was the highest-rated and most-watched tennis match ever for ESPN, averaging a 2.5 US rating and having 3.925 million viewers. Did I mention it took 4 sets to complete the match?
That’s not the only instance of a longer match that drew in viewers. This year’s five-set US Open final drew in 16.2 million viewers, compared to the 11.8 million who tuned in to the four-set final from last year. The three-set women’s final (in grand slam women’s tennis the matches are a best two-out-of-three contest), brought in the most viewers for the US Open ladies final since 2002, with an audience of 17.7 million. It would seem longer matches are not what is deterring tennis fans.
Currently, professional tennis viewing is going through an increase in popularity. When looking at the number of viewers for the Gentlemen’s Wimbledon Final, we see that in 2010 the final received a rating of 1.6, whereas this year the final received an average rating of 2.5 and had 3.925 million viewers.
In women’s professional tennis we see the same trend. In 2010, the women’s final only earned a rating of 1.6 and increased to 2.0 this year. Therefore, tennis is increasing in popularity, regardless of match length. So what is preventing the popularity of Division I tennis?
Collegiate sports are only popular in the US, as other countries do not offer collegiate-level sports. How does this effect tennis? Tennis is a sport that is popular worldwide. Therefore, many international athletes come to the US to play collegiate tennis. Of the international student-athlete population, 23.2 percent play tennis, whereas in basketball the percentage is 9.5 percent. It is even less for football, with only 1.4 percent of the international student-athlete population playing. Furthermore, in Division I tennis 38.4 percent of the men’s players and 49.9 percent of the women’s players are international.
This does not bode well for the popularity of collegiate tennis considering it will only be viewed by North Americans. Additionally, with other powerhouse sports dominating US sports culture – such as basketball and football – tennis becomes a difficult sport to market.
Let’s compare professional tennis television ratings to those of the most popular NCAA sports: basketball and football. This year’s US Open final drew in 16.2 million viewers worldwide, which was an increase of 4.4 million viewers compared to the 2011 final. However, compare this to the 2012 March Madness championship and the BCS Championship game and we see that they pulled in 20.005 million and 24.214 million viewers respectively, the majority of these viewers being from North America.
This shows that there is a great viewing audience available in America, however tennis does not have the popularity here to pull in that grand of an audience. If professional tennis has trouble matching the number of viewers NCAA basketball and football draw, it is difficult to market the potential for NCAA tennis. There is not as much money available here.
Would changes to the format that shorten playing time increase the sports popularity in America? It seems unlikely considering the professional tennis ratings are going up, even with longer match times. Much of the excitement of tennis comes from the third-set intensity where players have to dig deep mentally and physically to become the victor. Additionally, when it is considered that the matches that draw in the most viewers are also the longest, the men’s grand slam finals, it would seem that shortening the match duration may not increase the sports view ability.
For now, Division I collegiate tennis players and fans do not need to worry about losing the third set since the cabinet rejected the idea. However, with the Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee looking for ways to increase the sports popularity and view ability will they discover ways to change the format of matches? Will changing the length of matches also affect the dynamic of the sport? Is shortening the matches really the method to increase popularity since in the past, longer professional matches have drawn in more viewers? We will have to wait and see what changes may come to Division I tennis in the spring when the cabinet meets again.